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Higher Pay Drawing Police Officers Out of Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO -- This week Sacramento city officers diligently worked a standoff for nine hours.

They also stood up to help teach neighbors how to stay safe in the wake of a rash of robberies, but they say no one in city administration is standing with them.

"It just seems like the city manager doesn't care what's going on at the police department and it's disturbing," Tim Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, told FOX40.

It's disturbing to Davis because he says what's going on is that officers are leaving the Capital City force at an alarming rate - all because of money.

With salary for a top-step officer at around $85,000 dollars, Sacramento police are some of the lowest paid in the region.

Making a lateral move - just one or two cities over - could earn an officer $5,000 to $25,000 more, before incentives for factors like advanced education kick-in.

Roseville is one of those cities mow soaking up the talent spotted and trained..

"It would be no surprise why somebody wouldn't stay in Sacramento because they can make more money elsewhere. Over the last four years we've probably recruited and hired, I want to say, six to eight officers directly from Sacramento," Philip Mancini, president of the police union in Roseville, said Friday.

Overall 15 officers made lateral moves away from Sacramento last year - 18 so far already this year.

In some cases they're fresh-from-the-academy recruits looking to take home more as soon as their receive their licenses, but more and more they're officers who are walking decades of experience right out of Sacramento's door.

"We lost close to a third of our homicide investigators have left in the last year and this is invaluable experience that we have," said Davis.

It's experience now benefiting the sheriff's department and the district attorney's office.

To stay a crisis he sees only getting bigger, Davis says he's spent a year trying to explain the problem to the city council and the city manager - drafting a possible plan forward before current contracts expire.

His plan proposed a 12 percent pay hike broken-up over several years to lessen the impact on the city's annual budget and keep those need to keep Sacramento safe.

"The city sat on that for 6 months and then last week responded with what you can see in the letter..with a pay cut for 133 of our members...which is insulting when we're trying to work collaboratively with the city," Davis said.

No one from the city of Sacramento would discuss the union's concerns or numbers with FOX40, spokesmen saying only that the city doesn't talk about any negotiations.